The aircraft touches down on the smooth tarmac close to the sea. A gentle voice announces the arrival at Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.
Click, click, click… The seat-belts begin to come off, even as the voice continues to advise, “All passengers are requested to remain seated, with their seat-belts fastened, and keep electronic equipments switched off until the aircraft comes to a standstill and the seat-belt sign is switched off… “
The click, click, click continues, followed by a jugalbandhi of music from different cellphones being switched on.
The voice goes on, this time with a shred of tiredness and resignation, “You’re now allowed to switch your cellphones on.”
The five-year-old looks up at the seat-belt sign that is glowing as the plane slowly glides to a halt and asks, “Why do those people take the seat-belt off? See? The sign is still on.”
His mother replies just loud enough for the other passengers to hear, “Uh…. they must be used to jumping off moving trains…”
A non-Malayali, watching the exodus, asks, alarmed, “What happened? Where are they all off to??”